CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — Saturday, Tar Heel fans took to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s campus at the arena named for one of college basketball’s most well-known coaches — Dean Smith.
“Obviously, Michael Jordan, James Worthy, the names go on and on,” Nathan Cox said about Smith. “He sounded like a great man. Someone who cares about character and development. There’s no surprise he’s a legend.”
All eyes are now on Smith’s former assistant, current UNC head coach Roy Williams.
Williams recently made history, tying Smith at 879 career wins as a head coach, the fourth most in Division I men’s basketball history.
“If there was a Mount Rushmore of North Carolina-Chapel Hill coaches, Roy Williams would be the center stone of it almost, Dean Smith obviously,” Christian Chavis said. “He’s just really taken the Dean Smith Center, and made it his own, in a sense.”
Williams worked as an assistant for Smith at UNC for 10 seasons from 1978-88 before heading to Kansas as their head coach.
Fans came from all over hoping to see Williams pass Smith with a win against Georgia Tech. The Tar Heels, however, lost to the Yellow Jackets.
“He has a way of rallying the troops and bringing everyone together,” Cox said. “He’ll be fine. I think he’ll get it in the next week or two.”
Many wearing Carolina Blue hope to see the record books change soon.
Win or lose, fans believe Williams has, and will continue, to make an impact. Williams came from Kansas to become head coach at UNC in 2003.
“I think, moving forward, he’ll have something to look to,” Alison Roberts said. “A legacy that he can see in the records, and know that he made a difference here in Chapel Hill.”
UNC returns to the Dean Smith Center on Wednesday, January 8 to take on Pittsburgh.
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